Flying Lessons Blog

Investigation Shows Early Deception by Boeing on 737 Max

July 2, 2020

Boeing’s campaign to underplay and withhold information about a software system linked to two deadly air disasters goes back to the earliest days of the airliner’s design, a new report from the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General says. The report released on Wednesday is one of several launched following two crashes of Boeing 737 Max airliners that killed a total of 346 people in late 2018 and March of 2019. After the second accident, Boeing’s brand new airliner was grounded globally and it hasn’t flown in commercial service since. It is a record-setting halt in operations for a new airliner, surpassing even the infamous British… Read More…

Will the 737 MAX Fly Again?

June 17, 2020

For those who like to gamble, the stakes are pretty high on one simple yes or no question, Will the Boeing 737 MAX fly again? I think it is unlikely, but on that, I am in the minority. Wednesday’s U.S. Senate hearing at which FAA administrator Stephen Dickson is scheduled to testify could provide some clues to the airplane’s future. (You can watch the hearing live here, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST.) Over the past few weeks, I’ve reached out to industry insiders for their opinions. Few shared my gloomy view about the MAX. It seems that the sixties-era, twin-engine jetliner with the fancy new… Read More…

Give a Kid a Challenge and He Might Become an Airplane Maker

June 7, 2020

Nobody envies the airplane manufacturers during these disruptive days of coronavirus, except perhaps for Nicholas Bubeck, the 2nd youngest aviation fan I know. (The first is my 3-year-old granddaughter.)   “I like airplanes because they let me travel,” Nicholas told me. “Taking off is fun and fast,” and being in the sky is great too, he said. At the age of six, Nicholas  is just starting in the airplane business. He turns popsicle sticks, corks and bottle caps into vehicles where the imagination can take flight. The idea to make and sell toy airplanes came to Nicholas  one afternoon while his 2-year old brother Alex… Read More…

The Risk of Flying is on the Passenger Now

May 21, 2020

On this we should be clear, if we choose to fly the health risk is on us. Despite the sanitation theater now underway, from airport announcements and mandatory masks (more about that later) we are approaching the trailing edge of a pandemic. Much remains uncertain. The consequences following a foray through a busy airport or a flight on crowded airliner rest on the flyer. This conclusion is based on the obvious and the practical. What’s obvious is that the Federal Aviation Administration (and regulators in other countries as well) have largely left the procedures for disinfection and sanitation for the airlines and airports to sort… Read More…

To Win Back Fear-Filled Passengers, Airlines Need a New Normal

May 14, 2020

As the coronavirus shows signs of subsiding, airline executives are making rosy promises that the business of air travel will soon rebound. These optimistic views must be seen for what they are; the best possible spin of what is in reality, an existential threat. Modern air travel has boomed based on a several decades-long marketing plan of enticing customers with cheap tickets and and a “why not?” sales pitch. Why not pop across the country to hear your favorite rock band? Why not hop on the red-eye for a morning sales call and be home in time for dinner? Why not escape a rainy weekend… Read More…

Airlines Aspire to Fly Like the Dogs

April 9, 2020

via GIPHY Flying dogs? In the aviation business the folks responsible for flying cargo are called Freight Dogs. And these days the dogs are having their day. “Demand is off the charts,” said Shawn Cole Vice President Cargo for Delta Air Lines. Sure, there are the pharmaceuticals and medical supplies so much in demand to deal with Coronavirus, but there is also mail to deliver and the unglamorous but exceedingly important transportation of components for manufacturing. “We’re here to help keep global commerce moving and supply lines open,” Cole said in a video produced by Delta. “Transforming our operation to provide cargo-only charter flights allows… Read More…

Pilot in Fatal Pegasus Crash Released to House Arrest

March 24, 2020

After two weeks in prison, Mahmut Arslan, the captain of the Pegasus Airlines jetliner that crashed killing 3, was released to house arrest on Monday, according to Turkish journalist, Didem Kuzu. Capt. Arslan was incarcerated after being discharged from the hospital where he was being treated for injuries sustained in the accident. Pegasus Flight  2193 sped off the runway after landing at Istanbul’s secondary airport, Sabiha Gökçen on February 5th. The Boeing 737NG hit two structures and then plummeted down a steep embankment. During his interview with the Chief Public Prosecutor, Capt. Arslan pointed out the many factors that were in play on the rainy… Read More…

Flying Lessons That Can Help Us Navigate Coronavirus

March 19, 2020

This is not the post where you will be told to wash your hands and avoid touching your face. No, this is a continuation of my long-held philosophy that pilots have useful practices that we can all use to deal more successfully with the uncertainties of life. The global pandemic of Coronavirus rages, governments differ in how best to respond to the threat. Confined to our homes we worry. Now think about this: Airline pilots use well-established techniques that assure they work safely on every single flight. If, metaphorically speaking, flight is life, then we are the captains who can take advantage of this knowledge… Read More…

The Corona-Killer Airlines Opted to Ignore

March 16, 2020

A history of ignoring the role of airliners in spreading diseases like the Coronavirus is coming back to bite the industry on the butt. Airlines are cutting their schedules which means cutting staff. They are parking airplanes and watching as share prices fall by double digits. “The turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General of the International Air Transport Association. And yet, Devin Liddell, a futurist and consultant with the Seattle-based design firm, Teague argues that Ebola, MERS, H1N1, SARs, and other global health scares provided plenty of warning. Airlines and the governments that regulate… Read More…

Will Boeing 737 Max Deaths Matter?

March 10, 2020

Today, families from many countries will remember the lives of those who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed one year ago today. I suspect they will be joined by the survivors of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident, bound forevermore with Ethiopian in the corporate and government scandal of the Boeing 737 Max. In the two decades I have been writing about air safety and even more so during the years I worked for an aviation law firm, I heard many grieving families vow to make sense of senseless death. Among them  Jillian Gustafson  (TWA 800) and Gail Dunham (United Airlines 585) who… Read More…

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